Port Macquarie’s community theatre did itself proud on the June long weekend as 12 diverse theatre groups from our region, and interstate, performed on its stage.
Troupes from Ipswich (Queensland), Lithgow, Seymour (Victoria), Stuarts Point, and Kempsey, joined with local groups and two from Players Theatre to perform 16 one act plays, in what is hoped will be a bi-annual event.
Not only were there some amazing performances, but a number of the plays were unpublished original works written by the directors. In fact the Best Production award went to The Asylum, written and directed by Tony Erhardt, and performed by Little Ipswich Theatre.
Adjudicator Lesly Stevenson owns a theatre company in Hamilton, near Newcastle, is a member of the Australian Adjudicators Association, and a qualified examiner of singing, drama and musical comedy. Her comments were encouraging, thoughtful and insightful.
She awarded Best Actor Male to John Hincks, who gave a poignant performance as an ageing man with dementia in Frogs. This play, which Hincks directed, also received an award for Best Set.
An emotional Vickii Byram, yes the writer of this piece, was overwhelmed to receive the award for Best Actor Female. When my name was read out, (mispronounced Birrum) I thought, “was that my name?”, and then said as much to a friend seated next to me, before stumbling up the stairs wearing a grin a metre wide.
It was a surreal moment as fellow Players Theatre members high-fived me and the audience applauded loudly. Our play – That was no Lady – That was a Private Eye, was directed by Lance Thompson and also received the award for Runner-up Best Production and Best Costumes.
Players Theatre’s Barbara Brum, who played the title role in Daisy Markham directed by Di Gillies, received the Adjudicator’s Special Award. It was a very special weekend for our theatre, which also nurtured many of the other local group actors and directors.
Thanks to sponsors Arts NSW, Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, Holiday Coast Credit Union, NorthCorp Accountants, Thompson Brushes, Lake Cathie Bowling Club, Terry Gould Memorial and the late Dennis Morvan, everyone associated with the festival will recall what an entertaining weekend it was.